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February 4, 2013

Ravens rise above 49ers’ rally, power outage delay to win Super Bowl

(Continued)

NEW ORLEANS —

Jones beat cornerback Chris Culliver — the player who apologized for anti-gay comments during the week — and tumbled onto his back, then got up and cut across the field to reach the end zone. It was Flacco’s 70-yard toss to Jones with 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter that allowed the Ravens to tie the Broncos in the second round of the playoffs, before winning in the second overtime period.

Earlier Sunday, Flacco connected with Anquan Boldin from 13 yards out less than 4 1/2 minutes into the game on Baltimore’s first possession, then found tight end Dennis Pitta for a 1-yard score midway through the second quarter after James’ error.

James fumbled at Baltimore’s 25-yard line while straining to gain extra yards. Linebacker Courtney Upshaw punched the ball loose, and defensive lineman Arthur Jones recovered it, and the Ravens headed the other way.

The 49ers also began the game with an illegal formation penalty on the very first play, then needed to punt.

A good return by Jones set up the Ravens near midfield, and they promptly drove 51 yards in six plays. Another 49ers penalty on third down at the 18 came right before Flacco’s nice scoring pass over the middle to Boldin with less than 4 1/2 minutes gone in the game.

About 45 minutes before the opening kickoff, Lewis gathered his teammates in the end zone painted the Ravens’ purple team color. As they encircled him, Lewis — large triangles of eye black covering his entire cheeks — delivered his usual rousing pregame speech, and other players whooped it up, too.

Not long after, 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis — who, like Lewis, wears No. 52 — delivered his own fiery words, surrounded by the rest of his team near the red, white and blue NFL shield logo at midfield.

Before the game began, with 100 million or so Americans expected to tune in on TV, a chorus of 26 children from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. — where 20 students and six adults were killed in a shooting rampage in December — sang “America the Beautiful,” accompanied by “American Idol” alum Jennifer Hudson. Grammy winner Alicia Keys performed the national anthem.

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Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

 

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